Willard Rouse III, 1942-2003

Bill Rouse was our champion. More so than anyone else, he could overcome Philadelphia’s all-too-frequent lack of self-confidence,” said Peter Hearn, former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and a former candidate for mayor. “He defied the doubters time after time, and succeeded. The loss of Bill is staggering.”

Gov. Rendell said yesterday that no other figure in Philadelphia could match Mr. Rouse’s civic brawn.

“Do I see anyone on the scene? No, I don’t,” Rendell said. “But gosh, I’ve been involved in tons of major cities in my capacity as mayor, and I have never seen any individual have as significant an impact on the direction of a city and region, anywhere in the country.”

…Often referred to as “bigger than life,” he loved nothing more than to scoff in the face of what others thought impossible. Consider this piece of typical Rouse braggadocio:

“They laughed at us. They said it couldn’t be done.”

Read the rest by Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Prayers and thank you to him and his family.

Working poor get screwed again

Let’s see: they work, are not on welfare, and are contributing to the tax coffers…

But they don’t vote in the numbers required to make them a threat. They aren’t noticed, and are largely forgotten.

So what happens?

David Firestone in the NYTimes: Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets: ” after studying the bill approved on Friday, liberal and child advocacy groups discovered that a different group of families would also not benefit from the $400 increase ? families who make just above the minimum wage….Because of the formula for calculating the credit, most families with incomes from $10,500 to $26,625 will not benefit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal group, says those families include 11.9 million children, or one of every six children under 17.”

If the Democrats could energize this voting base along with the squeezed middle class… well they just won’t will they? via dangerousmeta.

Blabbermouth gets it right

From a fan perspective, of course I’m going to dig Blabbermouth.net. But the web-tech guy in me wants you to take notice – the site gets a topic based weblog right. Straight forward design. Sticks to to subject. Content right were you can see it. Notice how Road Runner records owns the site, but is not responsible for content. And notice how I just gave Road Runner free advertisement. It’s great work. Check it out.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention BlogCritics contributor, metal (true metal dude) fan and critic, fellow Philly blogger Chirs Puzak. I wouldn’t have known about Blabbermouth if it wasn’t for him pointing to it. All this and a fellow “The Prisoner” fan too!

What Did You Do?

Nicholas Kristoff at the NYTimes: What Did You Do During the African Holocaust?: ” In Congo, in which I’ve had a special interest ever since Tutsi rebels chased me through the jungle there for several days in 1997, 3.3 million people have died because of warfare there in the last five years, according to a study by the International Rescue Committee. That’s half a Holocaust in a single country. …Our children and grandchildren may fairly ask, “So, what did you do during the African holocaust?””

An editorial. Not a news piece. Have you seen this covered on our nightly TV news? Except for a few conscious webloggers (yes I am using that word purposely), no one is paying attention. The mainstream news had a responsibility to pick this up. Then again, how could you expect the press to report on trouble in Africa when it won’t expose for the mainstream the state of affairs in Russia? Here goes a prediction for you: Kerry will remind you of Gore soon. Very, very, very soon. Much more sellable to cover his personality then his background and potential policies.

Saddly related: Frank Ahrens at the WashPost: FCC Plan to Alter Media Rules Spurs Growing Debate.

Also saddly related: frontline: Mechants of Cool.

If someone is uninformed – how would they even know what they should have been doing?


R. W. Apple Jr. in the NYTimes: In Hoagieland, They Accept No Substitutes. The New York Times sampling Hoagies, Cheese Steaks, Scrapple, and Soft Pretzels! A good cheese steak or hoagie is usually just a delivery call away while a soft pretzel from any of the hundreds of street vendors across Center City (what we call downtown) can be bought with a soda. Good scrapple with two scrambled eggs from a diner is a my favorite breakfast. If I ever left Philly – you better believe I’d miss the food.

A few interesting stories

AlterNet: Neo’s the Hero of My Generation: “For many of my peers, it’s not cool anymore to listen to Jay-Z, wear Gap clothes, or watch MTV all day. Those things are seen as being a part of our Matrix. My generation uses terms like “keep it real” and “don’t front” ? the worst thing you can be is phony. Everyone wants to be original; nobody wants to be a copycat.”

A trend that’s been building now for a while if you’ve been paying attention to pop music. Think of Avril Lavigne and notice how Pink has evolved. Note the use of bands on stage in hip-hop these days (thanks to Philadelphia’s own The Roots. Hugely influential). They are even declaring….

FoxNews: Metal is back: “So why metal now? Coletti attributed its resurgence, in part, to the current mood of the country. “Look at where the world is. Music is louder and harder in trying times,” he said. …But that doesn’t mean that Britney Spears can’t stay relevant. “She just needs to learn to play electric guitar,” Coletti said.”

Time: Goodbye, Soccer Mom. Hello, Security Mom: ” “Since 9/11,” Creighton says, “all I want in a President is a person who is strong.””

Whiners not wanted.

NYTimes: Trust in the Military Heightens Among Baby Boomers’ Children: “The idea of nationality, being a nation, is important to people shaped by 9/11. This is a generation that knows nations really matter. They trust government.”

Related to earlier story about Republican dominance in politics: NYTimes: Democrats Seek a Stronger Focus, and Money: “Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says Democrats may have passed a point where “minority status gels and makes it exponentially harder to get back in” because potential candidates and donors see only minority status in their future….Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution disagrees, seeing parity between the parties as likely for some time. He argues that even the lack of a coherent positive message does not matter too much. “Most decisive elections are a consequence of the public rejecting something,” he said. The most effective message, he said, usually is the simple “throw the rascals out.”…But Democrats these days lack the killer instinct that it takes to sell blunt, demagogic messages. As Bob Shrum, a prominent consultant for 30 years, said: “It’s probably a weakness that we’re not real haters. We don’t have a sense that it’s a holy crusade. We don’t have a sense that it’s Armageddon.””

Not related but a good read: Time: What Makes You Who You Are: “Only now is it dawning on scientists what a big and general idea it implies: that learning itself consists of nothing more than switching genes on and off. The more we lift the lid on the genome, the more vulnerable to experience genes appear to be. …This is not some namby-pamby, middle-of-the-road compromise. This is a new understanding of the fundamental building blocks of life based on the discovery that genes are not immutable things handed down from our parents like Moses’ stone tablets but are active participants in our lives, designed to take their cues from everything that happens to us from the moment of our conception. “